I’m fascinated by how mythologies along similar themes exist across the world. Oddly, as Russ Thorne points out in this book, ‘The Magical History Of Mermaids’, the western world was a little late with this. The name varies across the nations but half-human/half-fish-tail beings first started in Assyria, hardly the wettest place in the world.
It was largely because of Hans Christian Anderson’s story, ‘The Little Mermaid’ that it became embedded in our side of the world, although I would have thought Greek/Roman mythology might have a say about that with Poseidon/Neptune, although there is a only a brief reference.
The tales from across the various countries do tend to depict mermaids as not being particularly nice creatures as a whole. Even though there is some confusion with the manatees, who are the nicest creatures, you do have to wonder why mermaids are seen in such bad light. Well, unless you fancy a life under the waves with them, short of drowning that is. Their dual nature never stopped them being turned into statues on all kinds of things. It’s a shame that there weren’t photographs to show them as this would have improved the book as a reference guide.
Mermaids in the media, mostly films, are covered quite extensively. Interestingly, when it comes to media mermaids, both the ‘Miranda’ films starring Glenis Johns are missed. It’s hardly like they are never reshown on TV, especially these days.
There is an interview with Mermaid Grace and accompanying photo about her professional job wearing a tail and how experience of being a free diver and a tolerance of cold water helps.
What is the real selling point for this book is the art. Loads of mermaids. Perhaps not by the big artist names but all highly respectable. I even got used to the ones with the large eyes. Enjoy the samples.
(pub: Flame Tree Publishing. 129 page square hardback. Price: £ 9.99 (UK) $15.99 (US). ISBN: 978-1-78664-793-1)
check out website: www.flametreepublishing.com